Fee Disputes

Every interested party has the right to Contest Executor and Trustee fees.
While every fiduciary has a right to be paid for services rendered, these fees must be reasonable. If the fees are unreasonable, an interested party can bring the issue to the court for a judge’s review.

What is a reasonable fee? The rules vary from state-to-state

Washington State

When determining whether executor fees’ are proper, Washington, like other states, uses the commonly accepted principle of “reasonable” compensation, and says nothing further in the law. However, there are more detailed rules for Estate Attorneys that provide a more insight into the meaning of “reasonable”, including:

  • Nature of the work involved (time, effort, difficulty, skills required).
  • Compensation customarily charged, professional or layperson (in the community for similar services).
  • Size of the estate (and the results obtained).
  • Any time limitations or other pressing needs.
  • Experience and capabilities of the person.

For professionals it’s common in Washington to use a “services-rendered” approach, and bill by the hour (the hourly rate can be determined according to the factors above.) Executors have also traditionally set fees as a percentage of the overall estate value, but while this is common (and mandated by law in many states) it’s somewhat unusual in Washington for estates administered by a professional. Our experienced Estate Planning and Estate Administration Attorney can help you, as a layperson administering an estate, determine a reasonable fee suited to your unique circumstances.

Even if a Will specifies the compensation for the executor of the estate, the executor may renounce the relevant provision before being assigned executor, and be entitled to reasonable compensation. Feel free to contact us before taking on any fiduciary responsibility and consult with an attorney.

Contesting Executor and Trustee Fees with an Estate Litigation Attorney

If you feel that a fiduciary has overcharged, we can assist you. We are experienced in representing beneficiary rights. Each situation is different, but our experience will help sort out the correct location to file your objection. Once filed, we will make your objections heard.

Experienced, With Reasonable Prices, We Will Fight For You

If you have any questions about Contesting Executor and Trustee Fees or any other estate law topics, please contact us to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Estate Planning Attorney.